We in national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno welcome the inauguration of President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte with hopes that he will fulfill his pro-worker and pro-people promises that seek to bring the country closer to genuine change and peace based on justice. We have even higher hopes that the Filipino workers and people who seek genuine change and peace based on justice will heighten their unity and intensify their struggle to realize these ideals with the Duterte government.
The change workers need are higher wages, a National Minimum Wage, an end to contractualization, and respect for workers’ rights. Now that he has assumed office, we hope that Duterte will stand firm on his commitment to end labor contractualization. All forms of contractual employment schemes grossly violate basic workers’ rights and should therefore be banned. Workers are also pushing for the implementation of a National Minimum Wage in the amount of P750. This would give establish a genuine minimum wage in the country and give immediate relief to workers and their families amidst the growing hunger and poverty.
We also welcome Duterte’s efforts to work for just and lasting peace in the country by pursuing peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. The talks should pave the way to substantial socio-economic reforms that would address the root causes of the armed conflict in the country. We hope that Duterte would fulfill his promise of releasing more than 500 political prisoners, including unionists and labor rights advocates who have been unjustly detained and charged with trumped-up cases, in relation to the resumption of peace talks between the GPH and the NDFP.
Workers are also calling on Duterte to prosecute Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III for his grave crimes against the Filipino workers and people. Aquino is a criminal, a murderer and should be jailed. He is the Pork Barrel King who siphoned off trillions of taxes to his presidential pork barrel funds through the Disbursement Acceleration Program. He is a murderer who killed hundreds of innocent workers, peasants and Lumad with his counter-insurgency plan Oplan Bayanihan.
Workers vow to support and stand alongside Duterte in implementing pro-worker and pro-people reforms. We will remain vigilant against the foreign and local elites, the biggest capitalists and landlords who are hellbound to sabotage reforms to continue their oppressive rule. We are pushing for the implementation of genuine land reform and national industrialization, and we want the country to pursue an independent foreign policy.
We are calling on the Filipino workers and people, especially the more than 16 million Filipinos who voted Duterte as president to organize and take action to fulfill our aspirations for a meaningful change and just peace. Only through our unity and action as one nation can we achieve genuine development and just and lasting peace.
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